Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beyond the Wall of Sleep: Anderson's Star

Lovecraft and reality! There was a star ...

Beyond the Wall of Sleep
I have often wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong. ... I have merely set down certain things appealing to me as facts, allowing you to construe them as you will.

All this he tells me — yet I cannot forget what I saw in the sky on the night after Slater died. Lest you think me a biased witness, another pen must add this final testimony, which may perhaps supply the climax you expect. I will quote the following account of the star Nova Persei verbatim from the pages of that eminent astronomical authority, Professor Garrett P. Serviss: "On February 22, 1901, a marvelous new star was discovered by Doctor Anderson of Edinburgh, not very far from Algol. No star had been visible at that point before. Within twenty-four hours the stranger had become so bright that it outshone Capella. In a week or two it had visibly faded, and in the course of a few months it was hardly discernible with the naked eye."

Lovecraft used Serviss' article (above), but he didn't have to go that far. When he was a little boy, he almost certainly saw that star. So did everyone in Providence, though Chrispy can't say that HPL recorded it in his astronomy writing, only years later in his notable story. If he and grandfather Whipple read the paper at all that week, they would have seen the headline below in one of the newspapers. This actually comes from the weekly circular printed by the Providence Journal called Manufacturers and Farmers, as the Providence Journal is difficult to find online.

Unfortunately, Chrispy does not have time to type up the entire article, but it can be read by clicking one of the links.

In Providence, Professor Upton and his staff were at Ladd Observatory, but Frank Seagreave lived on Benefit Street and constantly monitored the skies independently. He is mentioned prominently in the article, and very well known in his day.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

April Derleth

Publisher April Rose Derleth, 56, died March 21, 2011. The daughter of author August Derleth, April was co-owner of Arkham House with her brother Walden Derleth, and ran the company as president and CEO starting in 2002.

Arkham House has announced that sales and unfulfilled orders will be temporarily suspended.

303 Angell Street

A few blocks from HPL.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are We Just Globs of Bacteria?

Are we all just globs of bacteria? If so, then the Lovecraftian materialists win, and Lynn Margulis is right.

Lynn Margulis rocked the biological world with her 1967 declaration that mitochondria were actually embedded bacteria somehow absorbed several hundreds of millions of years ago by animal life. The formidable Ernst Mayr declared her contribution "of enormous importance."

Margulis rejects the current trends of mathematical microbiology and neo-Darwinism. Her belief is that "evolution" occurs not by natural selection, but by sudden stresses forcing symbiogenesis. This is not exactly the same as Stephen Jay Gould's punctuated evolution, but goes toward solving the same issue.

Essentially, organism living in close proximity comingle and absorb microorganisms that in turn give them benefits that make sudden leaps forward for them to overcome the environmental stress, and to dominate their niche in that same environment. Examples are mitochondria in animals and chloroplasts in plants. Therefore evolution explodes in big jumps, not gradual selection over aeons.

She offers a specific example of a slug that ingested algae absorbing the chloroplasts making the slug photosynthetic. It also changes colors to reds and yellows exactly as leaves do when seasons change. In her view, cows are 40 gallon fermentation tanks. People hear because at some point a cilia containing bacteria was absorbed into the ear canal mechanism that was super-sensitive to calcium crystals (balance/vertigo) and sound waves. Also the cones in the eye.

Therefore, life does not branch, it forms webs of intersections at given times and environments. And we are in a real sense a complex web of millions of types of microorganisms in symbiosis all harmonized and specifically selected to our environment to attack and repel other microorganisms that are not acceptable to the conglomerate.

Margulis thus proposes one of the most radical forms of materialism in biology. We are unique only because of our incorporated microorganisms long ago disguised as organs and tissue. It is the collective "consciousness" of quadrillions of micro-life-forms that make us both individuals and species. Any radical alteration of these collectives then make us – or any other collective-organism - very different species or life-forms. It also explains a lot of parallel evolution. Like micro-environments or macro-environments create collectivisms that mimic one another (emus, ostriches, rheas, etc.)

And this news flash may flow right into Margulis' mincrobe-materialist viewpoint of evolution.

Experts at Edinburgh University set out to discover how the Transylvanian naked neck chicken (the Churkey) came by its appearance. A protein influenced by production of Vitamin A, BMP12, is produced, suppressing feather growth and causing the bird to have a bald neck. The findings could help poultry production in hot countries because chickens with naked necks were better equipped to withstand the heat. They also have implications for understanding how birds, including vultures, evolved to have featherless necks. Transylvanian naked neck chickens are thought to have originated from the north of Romania.

Kansas: Dust in the Wind.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wilhelm Nauck

Here you will see that Mr. Nauck was a significant presence in language studies in Providence.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Abbie Shepardson Nauck - 1

You will see in this article that the future Mrs. Nauck was quite accomplished at violin.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lovecraft in the 21st Century: A View

Below are three non-consecutive paragraphs from Davis' interesting blog-excerpt and from the book, Darklore Volume 5. Hopefully, you will be tempted to read it in its entirety.

Calling Cthulhu
by Erik Davis

For Lovecraft, it is not the sleep of reason that breeds monsters, but reason with its eyes agog. By fusing cutting-edge science with archaic material, Lovecraft creates a twisted materialism in which scientific “progress” returns us to the atavistic abyss, and hard-nosed research revives the factual basis of forgotten and discarded myths.

Lovecraft’s fiction expresses a “future primitivism” that finds its most intense esoteric expression in Chaos magic, an eclectic contemporary style of darkside occultism that draws from Thelema, Satanism, Austin Osman Spare, and Eastern metaphysics to construct a thoroughly postmodern magic.

Lovecraft’s father was a traveling salesman who died in a madhouse when Lovecraft was eight, and vague rumors that he was an initiate in some Masonic order or other were exploited in the Necronomicon cobbled together by George Hay, Colin Wilson, and Robert Turner. Others have tried to track Lovecraft’s occult know-how, especially his familiarity with Aleister Crowley and the Golden Dawn. In an Internet document relating the history of the “real” Necronomicon, Colin Low argues that Crowley befriended Sonia Greene in New York a few years before the woman married Lovecraft.

more --- click!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Abby Clinton Shepardson Nauck

At last, REVEALED!

The violinist, Mrs. Nauck, wife of Wilhelm, was from a musical background. It appears her father was a sort of inventor of a reed tuning device. She lived a long life.

Above an e-clipping of where she played for a wedding in 1910.
Additional below:

Name: Abbie Clinton Shepardson Nauck
Gender: Female
Burial Date:
Burial Place:
Death Date: 04 Mar 1939
Death Place: Providence, Rhode Island
Age: 82
Birth Date: 1857
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Wilhelm Nauck
Father's Name: Edmund E. Shepardson
Father's Birthplace:
Mother's Name: Emma M Evans
Mother's Birthplace:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: B03124-4
System Origin: Rhode Island-EASy
Source Film Number: 1955171
Reference Number: 26

Name: Wilhelm Nauck
Gender: Male
Burial Date:
Burial Place:
Death Date: 24 Jun 1925
Death Place: Providence, Ri
Age: 66
Birth Date: 1859
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Abbie S. Nauck
Father's Name: Carl Nauck
Father's Birthplace:
Mother's Name: Luise Sheideman
Mother's Birthplace:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: B03100-0
System Origin: Rhode Island-EASy
Source Film Number: 1940317
Reference Number: 234

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Frank Belknap Long, Sr !

The Beginning of Frank Belknap Long, Jr.?

Belknapius, as HPL called Frank Belknap Long, Jr., was a progeny and keenly fascinated with creating the blend of horror fantasy known as "the weird tale". It's hard to know who adored who the most, HPL or Long!

One little e-news clipping (above) seems to be the very beginning of young Mr. Long, Jr., though he was but a glint of love between these two people at the time. This reports his parents marriage!

If you are a romantic about weddings, these details may make you swoon. The Bride wore white – with flounces! The bridesmaids wore yellow and saffron! Diamonds were given out like candy! (Almost). Dr. Long (senior) was a dentist, and at least for the wedding day, a Baptist.

You'll see the date of this marriage was on 20 November 1895. Dr. Long had been practicing dentistry (a dental surgery specialist), and as can be seen (from the Dental Cosmos, Vol. 34, 1892) he'd graduated 10 March - only a few years before.

It shouldn't be presumed that just because Belknapius' father surgically extracted teeth from suffering patients that this drove him to write The Hounds of Tindalus, but then again …

For you genealogy buffs:

EMMA AUGUSTA MANSFIELD [Belknapius' grandmother}, born July 22, 1846, married Sept. 15, 1869, Charles E. Doty. Their children are May Mansfield Doty, born Oct. 18, 1870 ; Cassie Mansfield Doty, born Feb. 22, 1872 : and Mansfield Mudge Doty, born Aug. 18, 1879.

This makes Mrs. Long (nee May Mansfield Doty) about 20 years older than HPL, and much youunger than his mother's age - Susan born 1857.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Celebrating H.P. Lovecraft: A Library Walk

March 19, 2011 - - time sensitive info.
Special Walking Tour
Celebrating H.P. Lovecraft: A Library Walk
Saturday, March 19
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: John Brown House Museum
Fee: $10 per person
For more information contact: Barbara Barnes
401-273-7507 x62 or

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fungi Not From Yuggoth

For more fungi see:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lunar Extreme

On March 19, 2011, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. On top of that, it will be full.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Lovecraft in Context

Lovecraft has been roundly criticized for his negative ethnic beliefs. As should we all.

However, we must continue to place hPL in context, and as a child of the Phillips family. HPL was born in 1890, and his family came from western Rhode Island. His grandfather, Whipple, once met Abraham Lincoln, and the entire family was staunchly Republican - as a time when Republicans were just beginning to be a party.

A new book clearly states Lincoln's early beliefs - sentiments that ran deep in many white families in the United States. This is not to take away any proactive or positive attributes of Lincoln, the Phillips family, or even Lovecraft. It is what it is, and people are products of our times. Beware throwing stones in a glass house. The news article states Lincoln spoke thusly:

"For the sake of your race, you should sacrifice something of your present comfort for the purpose of being as grand in that respect as the white people," Lincoln said, promoting his idea of colonization: resettling blacks in foreign countries on the belief that whites and blacks could not coexist in the same nation.

Lincoln went on to say that free blacks who envisioned a permanent life in the United States were being "selfish" and he promoted Central America as an ideal location "especially because of the similarity of climate with your native land — thus being suited to your physical condition."

As the nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's first inauguration Friday, a new book by a researcher at George Mason University in Fairfax makes the case that Lincoln was even more committed to colonizing blacks than previously known.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Next New Horror?

As anyone can tell horror is down for the count. Only parodies are selling. The latest is "mash-ups" which is a traditional or literary out-of-copyright setting or characters set in a zombie, or sometimes vampire story. Jane Austen zombies and Abraham Lincoln vampires are two recent ones.

Zombies are hot. Most likely because we feel we live in a world that has become zombiefied. Our governments are inept, overtaken by their shadow counterparts. We are unemployed, and therefore just living-dead.

However, as a student of antiquarian horror, I can say that the next new horror will not be a rehash of what has come before. While the old saying, "People who do not know history are doomed to repeat it," is true, there is a corollary. We do not live the future in a rear-view mirror. We are a people who are influenced subliminally by our present.

Lovecraft's fiction was about his xenophobia. The Weird Tale circle was a means to deal with transition out of Poe influenced, and Gothic horror. They collided with a parallel fantasy movement, scientifiction. It dominated fantasy fiction for decades as science moved us from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age. It was Modernism.

In that milieu, Robert Bloch, Shirley Jackson, and even Tom Harris came out with a blend of reality-noir-right-next-door horror.

We are now post-post-modern. The bizarro fantasy fiction wave has explored a number of avenues of that post-post-modern phase and is still doing so with great effect and success, though none of it has hit NYT best seller status.

When 9/11 changed the world, did you notice that ghost fiction and reality was everywhere? We wanted to understand our roots, and so we told ghost stories on TV and in small communities. Ghost stories are society's means of remembering history, and those who have lived before us. That all changed when the world economy went south. Zombies are now the rage.

But what's next?

I think the merger of Lovecraft-Mythos with Forteanism is one path. It is quite obvious in the movies.

The other wave is just beginning. Conspiratorial horror. Steve Alten and Whitley Strieber have pioneered that format. Alten's Grim Reaper and a few others of his tie together cabala, conspiratorialism, and well researched history. Streiber, long a believer of extra and ultraterrestrials has several books out now exploring what that might mean. His and Art Bell's Day After Tomorrow combined conspiratorial viewpoint with adventure.

Horror is down, but I'm enjoying new writers who are already percolating what will be the new-new thing.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cat - Human Bonding

Kappa Alpha Tau report here. Lovecraft adored cats, and they seemed to know that instinctively by his many reports.

Cats Adore, Manipulate Women

Cats attach to humans, and particularly women, as social partners, and it's not just for the sake of obtaining food.

Cats attach to humans, and particularly women, as social partners ... nearly identical to human-only bonds, with cats sometimes even becoming a furry "child" in nurturing homes.

For the study, led by Kurt Kotrschal of the Konrad Lorenz Research Station and the University of Vienna, the researchers videotaped and later analyzed interactions between 41 cats and their owners over lengthy four-part periods. Each and every behavior of both the cat and owner was noted. Owner and cat personalities were also assessed in a separate test. For the cat assessment, the authors placed a stuffed owl toy with large glass eyes on a floor so the feline would encounter it by surprise.

The researchers determined that cats and their owners strongly influenced each other, such that they were each often controlling the other's behaviors. Extroverted women with young, active cats enjoyed the greatest synchronicity, with cats in these relationships only having to use subtle cues, such as a single upright tail move, to signal desire for friendly contact.

While cats have plenty of male admirers, and vice versa, this study and others reveal that women tend to interact with their cats -- be they male or female felines -- more than men do.

"In response, the cats approach female owners more frequently, and initiate contact more frequently (such as jumping on laps) than they do with male owners," co-author Manuela Wedl of the University of Vienna told Discovery News, adding that "female owners have more intense relationships with their cats than do male owners."

Cats also seem to remember kindness and return the favors later. If owners comply with their feline's wishes to interact, then the cat will often comply with the owner's wishes at other times.


Chrispy believes there is an error in this report: Although there are isolated instances of non-human animals, such as gorillas, bonding with other species, it seems to be mostly unique for humans to engage in social relationships with other animals.

In my Weird Beasts study, I have found innumerable cases where infant mammals bond to females of other mammal species. It does not seem to matter, at the infant state, the maternal instincts tend to outweigh species differentiation for many, many mammal species. I can't say it isn't rarer at the adult stage, though.

There is an incredible National Geographic magazine essay about the domestication of foxes! Ferret domestication is prevalent. It appears that many mammals can be domesticated rapidly over less than 30 or 40 generations and it rapidly changes their genetic mutations and speciation.


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